Parshat Kedoshim and the Shidduch Crisis

This week's Torah portion: How does God's commandment to be holy connect to the problem of finding your soulmate?

Dr. Joseph Frager,


"Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: Speak to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel and say to them: You shall be Holy, for Holy am I, Hashem, your G-d."

The Ramban says that the main message of "You shall be Holy" is to be "removed from the forbidden sexual relationships and from any sin of similarly immoral nature." Although the Ramban does not say it explicitly solving the Shidduch Crisis will ultimately bring the Jewish People to Holiness. The "Kedushin" of Marriage brings the couple and ultimately the Jewish People to become Holy. It is imperative upon all of us to try to solve this growing problem.

Part of the Shidduch Crisis is self imposed. Both men and women have to be more flexible in their decision making. Being too picky, too judgmental and too stubborn prevent many a Shidduch. The Maharal (N'Sivos Olam;Nsiv Ha'anara 4) delves into this topic based upon the "Arayot Prohibitions". The Maharal brings down the statement by R. Chama Ben Chanina (Sota 4b) that a haughty individual is viewed as if he violated all of the "Arayot Prohibitions".

He suggests that the root cause of haughtiness is an excessive obsession with one's own ego and lack of love and concern for others. Marriage is the opposite of haughtiness. A proper Shidduch allows for vulnerability, humility and a deep love and concern for another individual. A proper marriage is not a one way street. There is constant giving from one spouse to the other in a continual unimpeded fashion. There is a perpetual give and take.

The Arayot Prohibitions deny the very essence of marriage. Adultery, for example, is the antithesis of marriage. It is a selfish, narcissistic, haughty, and depraved action that breeds contempt and shame. The Maharal goes on to postulate that the prohibition of Arayot is to force an individual looking for a spouse to leave his immediate family to unite a broader range of members of Klal Yisrael together in a greater bond of Love and Friendship.

The Jewish People do better and reach a higher level of Holiness as a result. One who is haughty and egotistical violates the whole notion of marriage and the idea of reaching out inherent within the Arayot Prohibitions. The Maharal explains the same Gemara by saying that this type of individual is as if he built a Bama-an individual altar-indicating total separation from the Jewish Community. The Shidduch crisis is partially created by the culture we live in.

The Millenials with a capital "M" are even more  self-centered  than the "me" (small "m") generation that preceded  this generation. A shidduch requires two people to compromise. It requires flexibility so that one person does not feel they are losing their self- worth and esteem. Each should try to build upon the other-to complement each other all the while strengthening the Jewish People. In this way G-d's statement that "You should be Holy, for Holy am I, Hashem your G-d" will be fullfilled fully and lead to more beautiful marriages and a Blessed and much needed Jewish Growth Spurt around the Globe.